Augusta Free Press

Virginia Cooperative Extension encourages Virginians to prepare for winter

The National Weather Service and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management have set Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2014, as Winter Preparedness Week.

“We live in an area where snow, ice, and low temperatures are common, and winterizing your home is a good first step in preparing for winter months,” said Michael Martin, Virginia Cooperative Extension emergency response and preparedness coordinator. “Make sure that your home is well-insulated and that water lines are protected from freezing.”

According to Martin, Virginia is vulnerable to severe winter weather that can bring extended periods of freezing temperatures, high winds, heavy snow accumulation, freezing rain, and ice accumulation.

“The effects of these storms can include power outages, downed trees and tree branches, blocked roadways, and broken water pipes,” Martin said. “Residents may also find themselves without power or heat for several days and may be unable to leave their homes due to the storm’s effects.”

Martin encourages Virginians to prepare for power outages.

“Some things to consider include heat sources, light sources, food, and water. Don’t forget your pets and livestock as well,” Martin said. “As with preparation for all emergencies, get a kit, make a plan, and stay informed.”

Martin advises households to keep an emergency supply kit, which will provide family members, pets, and livestock with at least three days of food and water provisions. Winter storms can last for several days, therefore, provisions for more than three days are recommended.

“For livestock and horses, it is important to make sure that they have access to shelter, food, and water. The risk of frozen water in buckets and troughs is high in winter and must be monitored regularly,” Martin said. “In addition, access to grazing may be hindered if grazing land is covered in snow or ice. Supplemental feeding of hay may be necessary for a period of time.”

Following are some of Martin’s simple do’s and don’ts to remember in the case of a winter storm.


Winter storm do’s

Winter storm don’ts

For more information about preparing for winter storms, visit the Virginia Department of Emergency Management website.

Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. Through a system of on-campus specialists and locally based educators, it delivers education in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. With a network of faculty at two universities, 107 county and city offices, 11 agricultural research and Extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers, Virginia Cooperative Extension provides solutions to the problems facing Virginians today.